Chuck 13wks

Training focus this week has been more of the same.  I'm a bit saddened that I'm not supposed to be teaching Chuckles a whole bunch of tricks.  But I've compromised with myself and decided I can teach "tricks" that can in some way help with his service dog tasks such as crawling to better get under a table, shake since it's simply a paw touch, and bang! to relax on his side.

We have mostly verbal cues now for sit and down, although sitting from a down on verbal only is harder for him.  I have also started to lure a stand, being very careful to get a controlled movement rather then a wiggly throwing himself around move.  Since a nice kick back stand is hard to get I think I'm going to go back a step and teach him to do so by keeping 2 front feet on a book.  I've only had one lesson with this strategy and so far I haven't even gotten to the stand part.  He actually automatically stands when standing on the book so I am now teaching him to sit with front feet on the book and then will go back to letting him stand.  And round and round we go :)

I put more emphasis on stays this week.  Down stays are done only on his mat and I've been working on going to the side of him and stepping over him.  Of course this is a very difficult thing for Chucklet but I think he's starting to understand the concept.  I'm doing the same thing with his sit stays, away from his mat.  So far I haven't done a down stay without his mat since his default is to lie down.  The initial attempts at sit stay were pretty hard since he kept sliding into a down, so far now I'm separating the two out completely.

Leave its are done with treats falling around him which he has no problem with. Just like puppy Lance though, Chuck wants to move away if I try to put one his foot.  We have also been working on doing little recalls past his food dish on the floor or setting up his dish as a goal to walk nicely to.

Biggest accomplishment this week was the formal retrieve!!!  Chuck now picks up his spoon eagerly and I've been working on him putting it in my hand.  He may just be starting to get the concept although I still move my hand a bit to help him and occasionally he tries to shake my hand with the spoon in his mouth instead of dropping the spoon into it :)

Still working on getting some height to his paw touch on the target.  Since we started focusing on his formal retrieve Chuck sometimes wants to bite the target instead of paw it. 

And in non-training news, Vito is finally accepting of the little guy!  He plays with him much more relaxed instead of the really stiff awkward play they did last week.  He even lets Chuck tug with him although it's very growly and only for a little bit until Vito decides he just wants the toy to himself.

Muttsandaklutz  – ( June 27, 2010 at 8:38 PM )  

OMG, he is S.O. C.U.T.E.!! His little tail never stops wagging. What a smartie patootie. Great news that he and Vito are on the way to becoming buddies.

Raegan  – ( June 27, 2010 at 8:48 PM )  

What awesome pivot work! I love your idea for a kickback stand, I'm going to have to try that out.

I /loved/ Vito's training videos when I found them on Youtube, a Toller is going to be my next dog. :)

Mango  – ( June 28, 2010 at 4:57 AM )  

Well, I am no expert, but I think the trick training will make him a better service dog because he is used to learning new things and some of those behaviors will be very handy at his job.


Lauren M. Davis Folk Art!  – ( June 29, 2010 at 8:04 PM )  

Thanks so much for this blog, I'm really enjoying reading it!!!! I love your pics too!!!!! <3

Pepper  – ( June 30, 2010 at 3:30 AM )  

He's such a cutie, I can imagine your frustration at not being able to teach tricks. I meant to say, at my old dog club there was senior trainer there with two tollers (amoung other things she does pairs obedience to music with them - it's very impressive!) and I asked her about the breed in New Zealand because her two were the 1st I'd seen here. Basically there's only about 10 or 12 in our country and none are breeding stock - this lady has a bitch that she has tried to get in pup in australia with no luck at all, so in NZ tollers are a rare breed indeed!

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